Outdoor Odysseys has been running sea kayaking and whale watch tours in the San Juan Islands (near Seattle) of Washington State for over 26 years. For half that time we ran our tours out of a funky old island cabin that was built in the 1930’s. We are totally ‘stoked’ to be working out of a new, ‘green built’ building!
What Makes the House Green?
Location – The house is situated just outside the city limits of the town of Friday Harbor. The ferry terminal, post office, drug store, hardware store are all within a 15 minute walk. You can basically leave your car at home and walk or bike to most of the places you need to go in town.
Super Well Insulated – A well insulated house is one of the cheapest and most effective things a homeowner can do to save on energy costs. Washington State code calls for R19 in the walls and R38 in the ceiling. Our walls have an R factor of 29 and the ceiling is 59.
Locally Sourced Siding & Beams – All the board and batten siding used is San Juan Island grown Douglas Fir. The trees came from Nick’s property – one of the carpenters working on the project. The trees were cut, locally milled and shipped a grand total of 10 miles. Best part? The siding looks terrific!
Passive Solar – The building is situated on an east-west axis allowing for ample passive solar gain. We also purchased Hunter Douglas energy efficient honeycomb shades which reduces heat flow through the windows by up to 50%.
Hot Water Solar – We installed a hot water solar heater on the roof. The Department of energy estimates that, on average, our hot water heating bill should decrease by between 50 and 80 percent.
Rain Screen – Installing a rain screen system is a “no-brainer” in the rainy Northwest. Leaving an air space between the siding and the face of the sheathing equalizes the air pressure so water can’t get in by wind driven rain, unequal air pressure or capillary action. The second feature is that the air space behind the siding promotes rapid drying if any water does get behind the siding.
Wood Flooring – We used FSC (sustainably harvested) wood flooring that purchased from Ecohaus – an environmental building supply store in Seattle.
Recycled Kitchen and Shop Cabinets – All the cabinets in the shop and the kitchen are recycled. They were destined for the landfill but in good enough condition that we were able to utilize them in the house and shop area.
Paperstone Counters – They are made of 100% recycled paper and non-toxic resins that put out no VOCs. We chose black paperstone which has the appearance of slate.
Low and No VOC Paints and Adhesives – Wherever possible we used low emitting paints and solvents.
Light bulbs – Another ‘no brainer’ is using compact fluorescent bulbs. They give off less heat (and thus energy) and each bulb saves $30 over its lifetime and will pay for itself in six months.
Energy Star Appliances – All the major appliances (refer, dishwasher, dryer and washing machine consume anywhere from 20-50% less energy. Our favorite energy saving appliance is the front-loading washing machine – it uses 50% less energy than standard washers.
Landscaping – We used native plants: Pacific Wax Myrtle, Sword ferns, Red Flowering Currents, Vine Maple, Shore Pines, etc. for landscaping – once established they are low maintenance and require less watering.